Vote Green. Pass It On.


Two excellent letters to the editor on MMP

Posted in MMP Referendum by rkorus on September 27, 2007

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/260472

Take a good look at reform TheStar.com – comment – Take a good look at reform

September 26, 2007

 

As a former member of the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, I have followed the Star‘s coverage of the Assembly and the upcoming referendum with interest. Why is it that when Star writers refer to the Assembly members who are recommending the alternative electoral system, they feel it necessary to refer to them as “ordinary citizens,” enclosed within quotation marks? The implication is that, despite being strangers to one another, coming from every riding across the province, sharing no political stripe and holding no political office, they had some common, hidden objective.The effect of this is to remove the most knowledgeable, yet unbiased voice from the discussion. By unbiased, I mean that we have nothing personally to gain. Political parties have lined up on this issue according to whether the reforms will be detrimental or advantageous to them. In the B.C. referendum on electoral reform in 2004, a large number of voters chose electoral reform simply because they were willing to believe that an impartial group of fellow citizens who had thoroughly studied the matter could be relied on to provide good advice. The mocking attitude of the Star toward the Assembly seems intended to discourage this.If an individual wanted to make an informed decision on this issue, there is a wealth of information available. If you have eight months, as did the members of the Assembly, to examine the issues in detail, I encourage you to do so. If you do not, then you may have to rely on someone’s recommendation.

The Star wants to see more coverage, but more of the same type of coverage will not produce any more knowledgeable voters.

Patrick Heenan, Mississauga

In the October 10 referendum on the way we vote, I will vote in favour of change. Here’s why:We have a multi-party system comprised largely of the PCs, Liberals, NDP and Greens; each claims their share of the popular vote. Recent history proves that no one party has any chance of achieving a true majority.

The last time an Ontario government won an election with more than 50 per cent support from the electorate was in 1937. In the 70 years since, all our so-called majority governments have governed with a minority of the vote – recently in the range of 38 per cent (Bob Rae) to 46 per cent (Dalton McGuinty).

In other words, in every so-called majority government since the Depression, more than half of Ontario voters voted against the government that came to power.

Without reform, this state of affairs will continue.

The alternative on the ballot (mixed member proportional) sounds complicated and is hard to understand. But for the first time it would help give Ontarians the provincial parliament they actually voted for as representation would be based, in part, on the popular vote.

What will be the result without change? We will continue to lurch from left to right and back again, building up programs and tearing them down. Long-term policy, with few exceptions, will remain an oxymoron. We will continue to lose confidence in government as an institution. We will continue to waste our votes and young people will continue to stay away in droves.

In the referendum, I fear that Ontario voters may vote against a complicated process, but in so doing reject the achievement of the real representation they long for. Let’s hope there is enough time for them to learn not to make that error.

John Stapleton, Toronto

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